If you had plans to list your home this spring consider this extended staycation as an opportunity to get your home in show-ready condition. With open house and showing restrictions in place this month, the real estate market is slow. This too shall pass. If your plans to list this spring have been pushed back to mid-summer here is a list of ten home projects to do before you list your home. We anticipate pent up demand once social distancing guidelines are adjusted. Are you ready?
This list to 10 home projects to do are suggestions I provide to sellers. These suggestions and the money and time you put into your home prior to your list date are impacted by your local market. Some homes on some streets could boarder on hoarder tendencies, but the location drives the activity and interest. Depending on your area’s market you may or many not benefit from this list. With that said, let’s check out the 10 home projects to consider prior to listing your home.
10 Home Projects Before Listing your Home
1. Pack + Stack
Earlier this year I shared this list of items to pack + stack before you list your home. It is the first suggestion I make when I meet with sellers and we discuss a target list date.
2. Tour your Home
Walk through your house from the front door to the back steps. Walk your home from the top floor to the bottoms. What do you see? If you suspect you have too much furniture in a tight room; chances are you have too much furniture. Pay attention to the condition of furniture and accessories, and lighting.
Can you walk around the dining room table? What’s the condition of your rugs. I talk about rugs in #9.
Tip: I suggest my sellers hire a home stager for a one hour consult. It is always easier to hear suggestions and feedback from a neutral, third party.
3. Create Punch List
Create a punch list during your self guided tour of your home. Your Realtor will be able to offer suggestions too.
I learned this next suggestion from working with buyers and new construction.
Tip: Take a roll of blue (or green) painter’s tape and flag the punch list items that you or a handyman can repair.
4. Consider a Pre-List Home Inspection
A pre-list home inspection removes some of the “surprises” that arise once you are under contract. A pre-list home inspection does not eliminate buyers from scheduling an inspection, but it can take some of the worries about the mechanics (electrical, furnace) and potential repairs.
Home inspections are a general inspection. If your home has been hit with hail storms, now is a good time to get a roof inspection.
Big-ticket items like roofs and sewers typically require separate inspections. Save receipts.
5. Purchase Fresh Hand Towels
Purchase fresh hand towels for the powder bath. Ideally, you have fresh hand towels by every sink. I encourage sellers to keep their new hand towels under the sink or behind the existing towel racks. When a showing is scheduled you can toss the tired towels under the sink.
6. Clean the closets, drawers and cabinets
As I mentioned in #1 here, sellers should assume buyers will open drawers, cabinets and closets. Now is the time to organize junk drawers, bathroom cabinets (I have strong feelings about bathroom toiletries in view) and coat closets nows. Pack, stack, donate or toss the extra.
7. Paint + Touchups
Touch-up the baseboards with a fresh coat of semi-gloss white paint. If you don’t want to scoot around the floor touching up baseboards your Realtor is a great resource to find painters. Buyers notice baseboards.
As a reminder, this list works great for those of us who are “aging in place.”
8. Clean Light Switches
Over time light switches get yucky. Take a handful of Q-tips and rubbing alcohol or all-purpose cleaner and go around the switch plates and light switches. If the switch plates are really dirty you can buy new ones at Home Depot for under $2.00.
If you have antique light switches just clean switch plates to make them sparkle.
Let me start with this: I don’t love rugs during the listing period. Why? Rugs unintentionally (or sometimes intentionally) hide pet accidents, deep scratches and hardwood floor fading.
Personally, I prefer fewer rugs during the listing. At a minimum I want sellers to roll up rugs to inspect the condition of the flooring under the rug. If the wood is darker under the rug, where it was protected from the sun, you might have an issue. Better to know and disclose.
Sometimes a coat of wood cleaner and wax will correct the shades of a faded wood floor. But, it is better for buyers to see the discrepancy on the front end and address it in an offer. Does that make sense? Dog accidents under rugs raise the same headaches for sellers.
Better to know it on the front end; than the back end. Pun intended.
10. Find Home Receipts, Manuals, Warranties
Be proactive and honest. Track down warranties and receipts for big-ticket improvements. And, remember your Realtor is a great resource for painters, handyman/woman, roof contractors etc.
So are your friends. Always ask for more than one referral so you can compare estimates. Take a breath. Good Luck! Please reach out to me with any questions specific to your home. I love to help buyers and sellers!
And, a special shout out to Katie at Preppy Empty Nester who encouraged me to blog about real estate and my Realtor life.